Since its summer in chicago I wondered if any of you have favorite neighborhood festivals for food (we all know about the taste so unless there is a specific recommendation there. . .)
personally i'm especially interested in the less commercial ones but if there is one you fell strongly about
Though I heaven't been myself, I have always heard the Taste of Melrose Park (predominantly Italian fare, I believe) was the best because you can get some of the best food and ONLY get a taste portion-which enable you to REALLY try a lot of different foods. You would have to check out the town events to see when it occurs.
re: R Dube
I went to the Taste of Melrose Park a few years ago. The idea was that everything-- food, drinks, toys, souvenirs, etc.-- should only cost one dollar. And for your buck you would get a very nice tasting of something. It allowed you to sample pretty much everything your heart desired, without busting your belt or your wallet. (This, of course, is what the Taste should really be about, but let's not go there right now, figuratively or literally.)
The atmosphere is very southern Italian, as is most of the food. Entertainment tended toward the night-club, lounge singer variety. There was a wonderful neighborhood feel to the party, and felt very small town.
As with any tasting event, you have to sniff out the best booths, but at a buck a shot, it was quite a lot of fun. If you go, look for the woman making the arancini balls.
Im usually not a big fan of most food festivals but there are a couple I had fun at in the past. I havent been back to either in several years, so bear that in mind.
The less said about Taste of Chicago the better.
I kind of enjoyed the Taste of Melrose Park. It used to be virtually 100% Italian-American food, reflecting the towns government, but more recently theyve opened it up to some of their other citizens. Everything was a buck and some of it was pretty good. I remember a bunch of nuns standing around a regular kitchen stove rigged up in the parking lot, stirring red sauce. Entertainment is mostly middle aged crooners, fun after a few glasses of wine. I always enjoyed the wine and peaches, a harsh red jug wine with perfectly ripe peach chunks soaking in it (a dollar for a big cup).
The other one I liked was the Argyle Street fair. All Vietnamese street food, some of it first rate. I still remember the corn grilled over charcoal then dipped in butter and fish sauce and sprinkled with spices. There was a stage set up at the end of Argyle with bands doing Vietnamese pop and disco songs. Again, fun if youre in the mood.
Now that I think about it, it may have been over 5 years since my last visit to the Argyle Street Fair. I went at least 2 different years so it wasnt just a one-time thing. It is clearly not listed on the citys list of festivals but Im not certain it was ever part of the official schedule. I remember it being advertised by signs on lightposts and in area shops. I believe it was the middle or late summer (it was very hot and local corn was in season). If Im able to find out if its being held this year, Ill be sure to post the information. Id love to get a few more ears of that corn.
Taste of Melrose Park is always on Labor Day weekend. Im not saying its the greatest thing going but Ive had a ball there before. Just be sure to slurp down a bunch of wine-and-peaches and try to catch Mario Pizzaferrato playing the accordion.
thanks for the info - I was down on Argyle Wed., picking up some Sun Wah and scouted around a little bit, the guys there seem puzzled by the question and i didn't see any posters.
Hopefully its too early to advertise yet, and it'll come later in the summer. if not I'll just have to eat my way through argyle.
Maxwell St Market, while not a neighborhood festival per se usually has some really good taco vendors, and churro stands. And I wonder if there was food related to all the puerto rican festivities last weekend.
The city of chicago site actually has a very informative neighborhood festival page with some good starting points. It looks like we missed a bunch this last week. According to that site "Taste of Randolph St" is this weekend...should be interesting if a little more frou frou than what you're asking for. Here are the dates for some others that sound interesting -- Anyone been to any of these? They sound like they ought to have food, but the site is not terribly informative beyond dates and locations. PErhaps these could be a chowhound summer project..some one goes on the first day and reports on whether there's anything to eat. Just an idea.
June 23 & 24
2235 S. Albany
Natsu Matsuri Summer Festival
June 23 & 24
1151 West Leland Ave.
Danish Home Summer Festival
5656 N. Newcastle Ave.
International Festival of Life
55th and Cottage Grove
Brighton Park Lithuanian Fair
6/5-11pm; 7& 8/12-11pm
4700-4900 S. Western Blvd.
St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church Festival
5649 N. Sheridan Rd.
Chinatown Summer Fair
2200-2500 S. Wentworth
Festival Con Sabor A Colombia
Richard Clark Park